GM Excuses VII: So That’s What An Invisible Man Looks Like

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GM Excuses, Part VII

droodWorldWithoutTearsIf you’re new to this blog thread, I’m following the Writing Excuses master class on writing, and transmogrifying it to be about adventure design. In Part 2, I mixed up ideas from Part 1 to create a mash-up, an adventure based on Drood, the novel by Dan Simmons and  World Without Tears, a song by Lucinda Williams. In Part 3, I auditioned NPCs for the lead role in the adventure and let the blog readers vote for their favorites. In Part 4, I sent three of these NPCs to do a dead-drop.

Homework Time! Who Are All These People? Have a listen.

Writing Prompt: Pick one of the dead-drop characters  and turn them into a secondary character. Now take one of the characters with whom they interacted, and write the same scene again, but from this new character’s POV with the characters focused on the other NPC.

I’ll pick Anton, Nalo’s brother, as they had the only dead-drop with two characters. Last time Anton was unseen. Again, I’ll do it as Read Aloud text in an adventure.

Anton In the Market

Read the following aloud, or paraphrase it in your own words.

You cast your spell to make the invisible visible and the silent heard, then search the crowded marketplace. Sure enough, when Nalo D’Costa enters the market, her invisible brother fades into view right there at Nalo’s side. Unlike his sister who is well dressed, Anton wears threadbare clothes and is shackled, dragging a chain behind him.

They are only two black skinned people in the market, but others only see one. 

“You hear these English talk?” Anton asks his sister. “They hate you. You are too smart, too pretty, too well dressed, and most of all, too black. They will kill you like they did me. See how they stare?”

Nalo struggles not to look at him. Under her breath she hisses “Yes, I know they are looking at me. Always me, and not you. Why don’t you make yourself useful and create a distraction?”

Fish MongerAnton smiles. “Only because I can’t hold the bag myself. Stick it in that barrel while I overturn the fat man’s fish cart.”


Aha, so this is a big change from the scene in Part 4. While it relies on a spell, I like this one better as far as getting the action going. The other one distanced the character watching. Now that they see and hear Anton, they are more in the game. I think in games with mystery, you can wait too long to really engage the players, where only the GM has a clue what is going on. The players are so lost they don’t know what to do.

And why can he overturn fish carts but can’t hold the bag?

Interesting when you try a scene where the PCs are spying on Nalo, then try it again, when they spy on her invisible brother Anton.

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